Sunday, January 29, 2012

Blue Suitcase

There's a enticing story behind every blue suitcase...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Perfection - Six Word Sum Up

This is a very sad book, but not entirely.

Life: still possible after betrayed love.

Here's a very insightful interview with Julie Metz taken by the New York Times, and the official site for the book.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Nos Separations - David Foenkinos

Most French authors write with a humour and charm that is so typical of them and David Foenkinos is no exception.

"Nos Separations" presents the story of Alice and Fritz and their other relation(ship)s with secondary characters such as Fritz's friend Paul and his lover Virginie, Fritz and his wife Iris or Alice and her husband. The book is more about the two lovers' sad separations rather than their relationship; it is about the constant need to be with the one you love even though you hurt that person and he/she hurt you as well.

"Encore une fois, nous étions dans une ambiance mi-prune mi-pêche (chacun ses expressions), et j'ai pensé que je serais peut-être heureux de passer ces moments sans elle. Depuis des mois, nous vivions collés, dans l'autarcie de notre révélation amoureuse, alors cette première séparation serait sûrement bénéfique."

The writer gives us the chance to see a few of the decisive moments in Alice and Fritz's liaison: we learn how they fell in love, how they quarrelled and how Fritz cheated on Alice. It is with so much ease that Foenkinos presents his lovers' story that you might think their situation is not serious. He even mentions at the beginning of the novel that we might all be cliches. Still, with delicate humour the final separation takes place and we are left with the character's struggles to avoid any place they walked together in Paris and with ironic dictionary definitions in which he as well becomes one.

“Il y a des personnes formidables qu’on rencontre au mauvais moment, et des personnes qui sont formidables parce qu’on les rencontre au bon moment.”

The end is still optimistic. A boy and a girl - Alice's and Fritz's children from different relationships) meet in Pere Lachaise cemetery (read the wonderful book to discover why) and we may think the story can begin once more. maybe with a different, better ending this time :)

Read for: New Authors Challenge and European Reading Challenge (France)

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Marriage Plot - Six Word Sum Up

My third book by Jeffrey Eugenides and definitely my favorite, and one of the best reads of 2011!

Life is about loving and learning.

The New York Times offers a great review here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rape: A Love Story, by Joyce Carol Oates

My first encounter with Joyce Carol Oates' work has been rather disturbing, since this novella is not something one would truly enjoy reading. As its provocative title suggests, it is about a rape and its effects on the people involved. Still, how can love find its place amidst all that?

The novella brutally starts with: “After she was gang-raped, kicked and beaten and left to die on the floor of the filthy boathouse at Rocky Point Park. After she was dragged into the boathouse by the five drunken guys – unless there were six, or seven – and her twelve-year-old daughter screaming Let us go! Don’t hurt us! Please don’t hurt us! After she had been chased by the guys like a pack of dogs jumping their prey, turning her ankle, losing both her high-heeled sandals on the path beside the lagoon" and we hardly find any time to breathe between pages, bound to go through the ordeals and struggles that the mother and daughter have to face. Teena Maguire together with her 12 year old Bethie chose the shorter way home, on the night of 4th of July, and being the victim of a gang rape, she is now left to regret that she has survived.
The dreadful trial, the shame and the blame that the community casts over them leave the two in the impossibility to move forward, until someone decides to take matters into his own hands. Out of love for Teena and to see justice being done. The book finally takes a positive turn when we see the two characters being avenged. Somehow.
Could things have been different? Was it their destiny? Bethie tries to find an answer:
“There was a final shake of the dice. Another time it might have been averted. When Casey said, ‘Teena, let me drive you two home. Wait a minute, I’ll get the car,’ and your mother thanked him and kissed him on the cheek, telling him not to bother – ‘We want to walk, don’t we, Bethie? It’s a perfect night.’”

It was not a perfect night, but there is hope at the end of the last page.

Read for: Orange in January Challenge and New Authors Challenge

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 - It's Dickens Time!

Everybody has heard of Charles Dickens, one of the greatest writers in English literature and I dare say, everybody has read one or more of his works. If not (shame on you!) 2012 is the time to (re)discover him, since the literary world is celebrating 200 years since his birth.
You can find everything about his life here , his works online here or any related event to Dickens 2012 here. Oh, and if you happen to visit London, The Charles Dickens Museum has reopened.
For those pressed for time, the BBC has adapted Dickens' works for the screen and Great Expectations broadcast at the end of 2011 was a total success for the British audience and I loved it, but I still have trouble deciding if it's better or not than the 1998 version...

"That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."

"I never had one hour's happiness in her society, and yet my mind all round the four-and-twenty hours was harping on the happiness of having her with me unto death."

Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape."

Quotes taken from Great Expectations.